Concrete is everywhere. From the sidewalks you walk on to the parking garages you pull your vehicle into, concrete is a staple of modern construction. But, have you ever wondered how concrete is made, what concrete is made of, and how it works?
Common concrete ingredients
Concrete is comprised of cement, water, and aggregate. The cement and water are mixed together to create a paste. The aggregate consists of gravel, crushed rock, sand, and other elements that are suspended within the paste. The concrete moves as a liquid when it is wet to mold into any shape. As it dries, it hardens to form a durable surface, perfect for many construction applications.
There are additional ingredients, known as admixtures, that alter the basic composition of concrete. These additives can change the color, drying time, shrinkage rate, and other aspects of the dried concrete form. Admixtures can enhance the concrete’s shade of consistency, but they can also impact the strength of the concrete’s final form.
Concrete mixing – Finding the right balance of ingredients
Concrete ingredients must be mixed in a precise balance. Too much water, and it may crack while drying. Not enough water, and the concrete will be difficult to work and dry with a porous surface. With the right proportions of cement, water, and aggregate, the concrete ends up with a smooth surface that’s fully cured all the way through.
Concrete pouring and drying
For small projects, concrete is mixed in individual buckets. For larger construction projects, the concrete is mixed in a truck with a rotating chamber in the back. The chamber churns the wet concrete to prevent it from hardening, and then the concrete is poured into the desired form. Reinforced concrete is poured over a grid of rebar, but not all concrete is reinforced.
As the water in the concrete mixture evaporates, it shrinks. Concrete layers will keep the top layer moist to ensure uniform shrinkage during the drying process. Concrete drying times vary based on the weather, which also impacts how long the top layer must remain moist. In the end, the concrete should have a smooth finish that is safe.
JK Industries has extensive experience with concrete installation. This seemingly simple product can be quite tricky to work with, but our concrete experts have the tools, knowledge, and proven techniques to provide a quality outcome for every project. Contact us to schedule your quote for concrete installation or concrete restoration.